UCT Online High School Announces Director and Principal

After the University of Cape Town announced the launch of their online high school, they have now confirmed the appointment of the director and principal of the school who is an avid educationalist. 

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In July of 2021, the University of Cape Town (UCT) launched an online high school (OHS) which made it the first university in Africa to offer high school through an online platform. 

It gained the attention of people throughout South Africa as well as the rest of the African continent, with more than 4 000 learner applications having already been sent in to the university for January 2022. 

UCT has now confirmed the appointment of the avid educationalist, Ms Yandiswa Xhakaza as the online high school's Director and Principal. 

Xhakaza started out as an English teacher in 2010 after identifying the inequalities in the education system as a young girl. She holds a Bachelor of Education (Wits University), Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Wits University) and a Master of Business Administration (University of Pretoria). 

Prior to being appointed to her role at UCT OHS, Xhakaza served as the CEO of a leading national literacy organisation, the Nal'ibali Trust. 

She believes that UCT OHS is what South Africa needs, as it will offer high quality education. 

“Online education in our context will always come with its own fair share of challenges as a developing country. The digital divide is significant and we have to work around the digital barriers such as poor network coverage, data costs, access to devices and computer literacy to mention a few. This is exactly the type of challenge I am excited about, because when we get this right, it will be a massive win for all of us.”-Director and Principal of UCT OHS, Yandiswa Xhakaza. 

Xhakaza begins her occupation as Director and Principal of UCT OHS from November 2021. 

“I am delighted to be joining the UCT Online High School team pioneering such amazing work and I look forward to breaking barriers and working towards the accomplishment of something so deeply personal to me, a course I have been preparing my whole life to chart forth," says Xhakaza. 

UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng welcomes the appointment of Ms Yandiswa Xhakaza, saying:

Yandiswa embodies what we as an institution stand for: building an inclusive society using the knowledge and resources that we possess. With her leading us on this journey we will be building a more equitable and sustainable social order and impact our young people from an early age to prepare them for the demands of higher education and society.

Prof Phakeng says that Xhakaza's appointment is apart of the university's Vision 2030 strategy to "unleash human potential for a fair and just society and on our three pillars of transformation, excellence and sustainability." 

Acting chairperson of the Nal'ibali Trust, Kay Lala-Sides says her former colleague helped to ensure that high-quality education was made accessible to South African learners through the Nal’ibali campaign and that she believes this passion will continue as Xhakaza serves as the Director and Principal of UCT OHS. 

The UCT Online High School will offer a CAPS-aligned curriculum and allows learners in grades 8-11 from anywhere across the world an opportunity to study at a monthly fee of R2 095 per month. It is one of the most affordable private schools within the country. 

Grade 12 will only be offered from 2023. 

Learners will receive the curriculum and will study at their own pace, while having access to high quality 1:1 tutoring from expert teachers and support coaches whenever they need it. 

The complete curriculum of the UCT High School will be easily accessible as an open education resource throughout South Africa. The high school seeks to improve the quality of education as one of the most affordable and accessible private schools in South Africa.

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